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Fresh Today from Wellspring Charitable Gardens - March 14, 2024

Fresh Today…  Radishes, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, Celery, Parsnips, Carrots, Green Onions, Butterhead Lettuce, Cilantro, Rosemary, & Citrus

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno.


Celery is a vegetable that is found in recipes throughout the year, but here in the central valley, we will only harvest it in the springtime. It has a long growing season and needs cool weather to thrive. As soon as the weather warms, it will go to seed. You can use the leaves like parsley (or the green tops of carrots) and, if needed, chop and freeze the stalks to use for soups in the fall. Our celery will have a stronger flavor than what you find in the store, so you might want to adjust the quantity in your favorite recipe. I like to use celery in a basic tuna salad, but recently I was turned onto a recipe that substituted chickpeas for the tuna as a vegetarian option with the same style.

Marinated Chickpea Salad

with Celery and Parsley


2 cans chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups dried

    chickpeas, cooked until tender

1 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

¼ cup celery or parsley leaves,


¼ cup finely chopped green onion


* Drain cooked chickpeas. If using canned, rinse the chickpeas. In a large bowl add the chickpeas and mash with the back of a fork until chunky. Add the salt, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, chopped celery, parsley and green onion. Let the salad marinate for 30 minutes or overnight if possible. Serve with crackers or fresh sliced bread.

March 17 - Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


St. Patrick's Day honors the life and work of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Once a religious holiday, the day is now a celebration of Irish culture, with parades, traditional Irish foods, music, dancing, drinking, and a wearin’ o’ the green. Erin go Bragh is an Anglicization of Éire go Brách, which in Irish means “Ireland till the end of time!”

- St. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat.

- St. Patrick was not Irish. He is from a Romanised British family.

- At 16 St. Patrick was captured by slave traders in Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave. He spent six years there working on a cattle farm.

- At 22 he left Ireland and traveled to France to study theology in Auxerre

and Tours.

- He wrote two short autobiographical works: Confessio (The Declaration) and Epistola (Letters to the Soldiers of Coroticus’).

St. Patrick returned to Ireland

to announce the Good News of Jesus.

Leafy Greens…

Leafy greens just need a quick sauté to cook. When adding ingredients that take a little longer, you can cook the veggies that need more time first and then add in the greens at the end, cooking just until wilted. The sprinkle of lemon or vinegar at the end brightens up the flavor.


Sautéed Swiss Chard with Carrots and Celery


1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves chopped     

    and stems sliced, keep separate           

2 ribs celery, sliced                                        

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced              

1 garlic clove minced

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Wash the chard leaves in a bowl of water. Let any dirt settle to the bottom. Pull the greens out of the water to drain. They do not need to be dry. In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat the chard stems, celery, carrots, and butter over medium-high heat. Cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1-2 minutes more.  Add the leaves, salt and pepper.  Cover with the lid and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove the lid, stir the greens, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with a squeeze of fresh lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul …

Stinging Nettle

by Ronda May Melendez & Keith F Martin


Weeding the garden rows this week, I was reminded of a painful reality. Unseen forces - forces we think we have learned to manage – can cause startling pain. “Who is the instructor for your lesson?” you ask. Stinging nettle! In past newsletters, I have extolled its health benefits; stinging nettle’s leaves can be useful when managed properly, but they are painful when encountered unexpectedly. Today, I focus on the sting.


I had not noticed stinging nettle in the garden in a while. Besides, I thought my skin was properly protected to engage the weeds in battle; I wore long sleeves, long pants, thick socks, rubber boots, and I gloved up. What I had not considered, however, was how my movement among the plants would expose my vulnerability. Focused on weeding, I had set myself up for the assault; glove and sleeve parted, tender wrist was exposed, and contact made. Sting and pain followed instantly - OUCH!

It took mere moments to identify the unseen culprit, the familiar pain immediately betraying its cause. That is also life with others, at times. While engaged with friends or family, we encounter a familiar sting that enlivens a lingering hurt from long ago. The nettles are there lurking – inuendo, teasing, criticism - yet they elude our immediate notice, like nettles hidden in the garden. Knowing our vulnerability, we had “armored up,” but somehow through our engagement a nettle finds a chink and enflames that smoldering pain.


My pain-filled lesson is two-pronged: Survey people and situations to identify nettles that could enflame pain; Armor up but be mindful to re-secure vital protection that may have shifted out of place, leaving tender areas – old wounds, insecurities, fears, failures, and faults – exposed to a sting. I need not fear the nettles, but to manage them properly, I do need to gird my limbs and guard my heart when they are present.


Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17).


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